Chapter Seven

"I have something for you for Christmas," Gavin boasted. I grabbed his hand in the Hummer and squeezed it gently. We were on our way to school. No longer did I take in smelly bus fumes. I was the one getting the free ride in the hummer. But naturally people thought it was because we were living together, I'm sure.

"I got you something too."

I stopped to think about an incident that happened earlier in the family room.

"My mom said it was "cute" how we were acting like real siblings. It made me sick," I created a grossed out face.

"We are not blood Scilla," Gavin reinstated.

"I know. I just wish they wouldn't say creepy things like that," I said, thinking of how just the week before Carl said, "Stop playing around with your sister," when Gavin was throwing corn at me across the dinner table.

"Why do they do stuff like that?" Gavin asked. "It's like, you know we are not related."

"Totally," I agreed.

"I missed you last night," Gavin gave me a sincere smile and I was relieved he changed the subject. I didn't like being reminded that we were doing something wrong. And I was really feeling so much for Gavin. He was my first real…well, I wasn't sure exactly what we were. Because we never said out loud if he was my boyfriend and I was his girlfriend.

I thought about what Gavin said. He missed me the night before.

"I know. Chelsea wanted me to see that new Vampire movie. I couldn't bail on her. She wanted me to wait for the midnight viewing."

I spent the night at Chelsea's, so Gavin and I couldn't hang out at all in my room. I wondered if he was getting anxious to do more than kiss. I was too, but I worried that it would complicate things further. Because not only were our parents getting married that upcoming year, but I was so inexperienced! Gavin was the only boy I had kissed. I wanted to wait a little longer, until I knew he was truly into me. Because we still avoided each other at school like the other didn't exist.

He took my hand and kissed it. My heart melted like butter.

Once we got close to school however, he dropped my hand and we acted like our parents wanted us to behave. Like siblings. It was weird, but it was the only way to avoid awkwardness in front of all the people that didn't know. Which was everyone we knew.

"See you later," I called out as I walked away.

"Later," he waved with his backpack slung over his shoulder.

But when we saw a movie later, we sat in the far back. He held my hand or placed his hand on my leg. Really, at this point I didn't even know if we were dating. Were we a couple? I didn't want to ask.

Chelsea was starting to notice something different in me, and it was proving difficult to hide anything from her. She saw me smiling, she questioned if I met someone new. She wondered where I was at night, when I didn't hang out with her. I made up excuses all the time.

"I'm too tired to go out tonight," or my famous one, "I feel kind of sick to my stomach."

I think she was starting to realize I was full of it.

But then she got clever. "Are you anorexic?"

I started to laugh, because ever since Gavin and I got close, food was the last thing I worried about. Yes, I was slimmer, but I was staying at a normal weight. Gavin and I liked to work out in our home gym together.

"No way Chelsea! I'm just busy."

She didn't believe me. She wanted to know who I was with all the time, and she was starting to get upset that I didn't hang out with her as much anymore. Though, most of the time she was occupied with Danny. That's why I promised to spend the night at her house. That's why I started to devote more time to her. I didn't want the questioning eyebrows anymore. It irked me. I was not a good liar. My eyes always darted to the ground and my heart would beat fast, my skin turning red. So the more I acted normal, the better it would be.

Christmas eve was like one of those cheesy hallmark moments. Everyone gathered around the tree to take photos. My grandma Betty came over to share the warmth of the season. She called Gavin, "A handsome young fellow," which made me giggle. Gavin did look handsome. I wanted to hug him in front of everyone. I wanted to kiss him under the mistletoe without being caught.

I spent Christmas day at my dad's house. I already expected the usual Tina bought present. I got a scarf, earrings, a top and a blue sweater.

"Thanks daddy," I forced a smile, knowing he had nothing to do with the choices. Michelle got excited when she received a new doll and Max threatened to take it's head off when she tried to play with his Xbox game.

I was texting Gavin about seeing him later when Tina yelled, "Put that phone away. This is family day, and we don't get to see you nearly as much as your mother and that new stepfather of yours."

"He's not my stepfather…yet," I said.

I scratched my head nervously when Gavin's name was brought up.

"How is Gavin? Are you getting along okay?" My dad asked, petting the dog Sneakers. He briefly met Gavin when he dropped me off from school once on a Friday. My dad looked him over. He knew my soon to be stepfather had money, and he assumed Gavin was one of those spoiled kids once he saw the Hummer.

"We're getting along fine," I said shaking the question off. I always got nervous when his name was brought up, because it was so obvious how I glowed when talking about him. That's why whenever Chelsea asked about the situation at home, I would change the subject.

"Your mother seems happier, wearing that huge rock on her finger. No doubt Carl spoils her. That's what she always wanted," My dad huffed. I really hated when my parents put me in the middle of their petty drama. They always freely spoke of their disdain for each other. Even when I was little. I never knew whose side to take. My mom tried to bite her tongue at times, and so did my dad. But now that I was older, it was like they didn't care anymore. Almost like they thought I was tough enough now to take it. But I didn't like it at all. Not at seven, and not at sixteen.

"She's happy," I simply stated. I sat on the loveseat next to the roaring fire, even though it wasn't that cold outside on that winter morning. I was wearing my monkey flannel pajamas. The ones Gavin called, "Don't think about touching me" pajamas.

"Well, she always wanted that. She always wanted the big house, the whole shebang. That's why she left me for that other guy Greg. But that one didn't work out either."

I ignored my dad after that, and he started to get distracted when Max pushed Michelle down and he came to his fatherly senses, coming to her wailing rescue. I always wondered what it was like to have both of my parents raising me at once. To see how they would co parent on issues like piercing my ears or taking two dance classes in a week. I questioned if I would be a more confident individual all those years, instead of finally feeling beautiful only after the hottest guy at school told me so.

When I finally got to see Gavin again on Christmas night, that's when we exchanged gifts. I got him something simple. A gift card. I didn't want it to be too mushy, since I still didn't know where we stood. He looked simply adorable in his preppy argyle sweater over his white dress shirt and black dress pants. He wanted me to open mine last. He seemed grateful for the gift card. But when I opened mine, I was shocked.

"Wow! It's so amazing!" I felt like crying. It was a sketch of me, in black charcoal with my face in a smile. I didn't even know he could draw.

"Since when do you have time for art?" I asked.

"When I can't be with you. I can't stop thinking of you, so I draw you. This is my favorite."

"There's more?" I asked.

He nodded his head. "You see, I really want to go to art school. I want to do artwork for album covers or magazines, maybe even be a graphics designer for video games. Something creative like that. But my dad, he wants me to go to law school."

"And you don't want to," I finished his thought.

He shook his head, his eyes looked sad suddenly. "Art…that's a "pipe dream," as my dad would call it."

"So go to art school instead!" I encouraged.

"It's not that easy," he countered. "My dad has wanted me to follow in his footsteps since I was born."

"You need to live your own life. You need to be happy with who you are. I noticed you change the subject when Carl brings up law school."

"Yeah, because it's a done deal in his eyes."

I could tell he was becoming depressed from all that talk, so I turned his face to mine. "I think it's amazing. I wouldn't just say that.

Gavin kissed my forehead. "Thank you. I never showed Arden this stuff. She would have laughed at me."

"I could never make fun of this. You're amazingly talented." I loved it so much, knowing he couldn't get my face out of his mind long enough to not draw me. It made me long to put the sketch in my room, to show it off to Chelsea. But instead, I would have to hide it away.

"Well, what about you?" He asked.


"Yeah, what do you want to do with your life?" he questioned.

I stared at my nails and pondered that thought. I was so clueless about my life. I had a couple more years, but Chelsea already knew she wanted to take acting classes and get her teaching credentials to fall back on. I had no direction to turn in. I didn't know what I had special talent in.

"I don't know honestly."

Gavin grinned and pulled me close to his side. "I think you'll figure it out soon enough."

One thing I knew for sure, and that was how I felt about Gavin. It wasn't just a crush anymore. It wasn't just something fun. I was really caring for him. I didn't want to imagine how it would feel if I couldn't hug or kiss him anymore. I wanted to make it official. I wanted the world to know. I was in love with him. It had to be love, the way I lit up around him. His presence was enough to make me smile all day, and probably even in my sleep. He had my heart since fourteen. I wanted him to know. But I would not divulge that information. Not just yet.

"Priscilla? Gavin?" I heard my mom's footsteps going down the hall. Gavin acted quick and started the Wii on my television. He began to pretend to be into the sports game as I hid the sketch of me underneath my bed. I opened the door, and saw her standing in front of it.

"Hi kids, getting use out of what Carl got you?"

I nodded my head.

"I was just curious if you wanted some hot chocolate and fudge?" My mom smiled, showing her rows of white teeth.

I nodded my head exuberantly. "We'd love some! I just beat him at tennis!" I pretended to play the sibling vibe.

"She wishes. She always loses," Gavin spoke without looking at us.

"Okay then, it will be waiting for you in the kitchen," mom kissed my cheek before turning away.

And then she turned around again to looked at me peculiarly. "You smell like cologne." But she just shrugged it off, because she had some wine at dinner.

I blew out a sigh of relief and Gavin and I started to laugh for a few minutes. Our laughter only subsided when we reached our hot chocolate and fudge downstairs.

Thanks for your patience on update times! xo- Katie